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Feedback and Reflection: Teaching Methods for Clinical Settings

Branch, William T. Jr. MD; Paranjape, Anuradha MD, MPH


Feedback and reflection are two basic teaching methods used in clinical settings. In this article, the authors explore the distinctions between, and the potential impact of, feedback and reflection in clinical teaching.

Feedback is the heart of medical education; different teaching encounters call for different types of feedback. Although most clinicians are familiar with the principles of giving feedback, many clinicians probably do not recognize the many opportunities presented to them for using feedback as a teaching tool.

Reflection in medicine—the consideration of the larger context, the meaning, and the implications of an experience and action—allows the assimilation and reordering of concepts, skills, knowledge, and values into pre-existing knowledge structures. When used well, reflection will promote the growth of the individual. While feedback is not used often enough, reflection is probably used even less.

Dr. Branch is the Carter Smith, Sr. Professor of Medicine; vice chairman for primary care, Department of Medicine; and director, Division of General Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Paranjape is assistant professor in medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.

Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Branch, Division of General Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, 1525 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322; telephone: (404) 616-6627; fax: (404) 616-5485; e-mail: 〈〉.

© 2002 Association of American Medical Colleges